Teachers of deaf attend workshop

By Michelle D. Isaacson

NIU’s Institute on Deafness, which offers long-term, in-service training to persons who serve the hearing impaired, is being funded by a grant from the Rehabilitation Services Administration.

Project Director Sue Ouellette said funding for the institute began in October 1987. The grant will distribute $108,000 per year for three years within the institute. Ouellette wrote a proposal for the grant to the administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Education.

NIU’S institute serves Region Five of the administration. Region Five consists of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Project Coordinator Marymargaret Sharp-Pucci said the institute offers one-week workshops which train and increase the expertise level of people who work with the deaf population.

Each workshop is limited to 18 participants. Sharp-Pucci said the coordinator of deaf services in each state in the region selects three participants for each workshop. The grant enables the institute to cover costs for each participant.

People who are eligible for the workshops include individuals who are employed by state rehabilitation agencies in Region Five, whose services are available to state rehabilitation agencies or who provide services to a state agency or facility on a contractual basis.

Occasionally topics of the workshops will change. “I spend a lot of my time assessing needs and based on that we will offer what is needed,” Sharp-Pucci said.

Although the grant will expire in October 1990, Sharp-Pucci has expectations that the grant will be renewed.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 mandates that severely disabled persons must be served by qualified personnel. “Deaf people are underserved and are not receiving the services needed,” Sharp-Pucci said.